All the Bright Places | Study Guide

Jennifer Niven

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All the Bright Places | Part 3, Chapters 58–59 | Summary



Part 3, Chapter 58: VIOLET The last wandering

Violet has to drive past the Blue Hole to reach Farmersburg. There are "133 'places of worship'" in the town. She is in search of the place that aligns with the last text from Finch: "A lake. A prayer. It's so lovely to be lovely in Private." She asks several people about "a lake and a church." She learns there is a church near a lake "off of Private Road." She reaches Taylor Prayer Chapel. Inside she sees nothing that stands out. On the altar is a laminated history of the church, which states that it was for "weary travelers to stop and rest" and that it was "in memoriam to those who have lost their lives in auto accidents." There is an envelope in the bible with her name on it. She sits in a pew and—in tears—reads what appear to be song lyrics. When she reaches her home, she "pull[s] out the staff paper ... and play[s] the notes on [her] flute." The chapter closes with the realization that "it's not what you take, it's what you leave."

Part 3, Chapter 59: VIOLET June 20

Violet goes to the Blue Hole. She goes swimming, "looking for [Finch] through [her] goggles." She dives a few times and surfaces, and she thinks about a poet named Cesare Pavese who committed suicide "at the peak of his literary career." His epitaph, she thinks, could have been about Finch. Violet has written one for him, however. It closes with "I linger like the legends of the Blue Hole. I will always be here, in the offerings and people I left behind." She "tread[s] water," thinking of him and of where she will wander "[n]o longer rooted, but gold, flowing."


Despite its subject matter, the novel ends with a hopeful note. Yes, Finch has died, but Violet has chosen an optimistic response to his loss, one in which she sees him as an inspiration and an example.

Yet while the ending might be positive for readers, these final scenes overlook the impact that suicide has on those left behind. Finch's last acts, his time between departing his hometown and dying, were spent creating a special experience for Violet. He's taken the time to leave her an elaborate scenario to show he loves her and she's essential to him. The clarity to do so seems at odds with the disjointedness of his mania. Further, it draws the choice to commit suicide into an act of romance, which may be troubling on several levels for the reader. Readers might again find a reality check in the words of Slate writer Ruth Graham: "realistic" contemporary young adult novels "consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple."

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